Edinburgh Fringe 2009
The Great British Soap Opera
Take Note Theatre
Venue: George Square 2
Festival: Edinburgh Fringe
Take Note Theatre, the team behind the sell out hit from last year’s Fringe, Jet Set Go! are at it again this year with a frivolous and fun piece of musical fluff with heart, The Great British Soap Opera. Ratings are falling fast on Britain’s best loved soap Victoria Square and so the producers decided to bring in a bombshell new female character to boost the flagging show. The Great British Soap Opera goes behind the scenes to take a sneak peek at the lives of actors and the people behind the scenes on a hit tv show which has fallen on bad times.
With a strong cast of six performers The Great British Soap Opera is entertaining and a well put together musical from the word go and high praise to Jake Brunger and Pippa Clearly who ensure the character relationships are well explained, the plot is believable and never dull and the music and lyrics are catchy and memorable. A cast of memorable and fun characters, The Great British Soap Opera shows that new musical theatre is alive and well in Britain and this in particular is the sort of show that will appeal to such a wide audience base.
Choreography in The Great British Soap Opera is at times a little over the top, and with such a strong plot and fantastically executed songs too much stylised choreography is slightly unnecessary. Take Note Theatre have certainly created a show that will ensure people sit up and listen. The content may be fluffy, but the presentation and production values are classy, creative and of a highly professional standard.
Phillipa Buxton is strong and vibrant as the glamorous Jenny, veteran queen of the soap until she is knocked off top spot by newcomer and all round gushing with a dark side Sophie, (Diana Chrisman) playing the sexed up Pandora on the show. Buxton is an excellent allrounder with a powerful voice and adds a biting wit owning the stage in all her scenes. Chrisman manages to combine sizzling sexiness with a cute disposition making her ideal as the not ‘so naive’ as she appears to be Sophie. Pretending to be straight for the sake of the show and Jenny’s onscreen love and real life Bestie Alfie is played with bucketloads of charm by the entertaining Adam Pritchard. There is lovely chemistry in the innocent and surprising relationship between Adam Barlow who plays Chip, the teenage star who has been on the show since he was in nappies and Sophia Behn who plays friendly and bubbly make-up artist Emily. The soap’s heartthrob and real life womaniser Josh is handled brilliantly by Leon Kay who manages to seduce most of the girls on and off set and gets himself in a right pickle because of it.
The actual soap scenes are a hilarious parody of Hollyoaks, Coronation Street and Eastenders combined and even if you don’t watch soaps this quirky backstage pass behind the scenes is in itself believable, well executed and addictive. The set is simple and for a longer run in London could be developed further. The costumes could use some tweaking but for the Edinburgh run do the job.
This bubbly vibrant new musical with a witty and original plot definitely has life after the Edinburgh Fringe and would be a great asset and much needed boost of freshness to the London musical theatre scene. Get your tickets quick before this crowd pleasing bright new musical sells out its run!